We thought it would be wise to pass on some advice and tips to extend the life of your furnace and air conditioner. Your HVAC system is counted on to keep your home comfortable and is relied upon 24 hours a day / 7 days a week especially during the coldest and hottest days of the year. Because your system is constantly running it will inevitably breakdown and require repair or worse, replacement.
Take care of your HVAC system and you may extend the life of the equipment by as much as 5 or 10 years. Extending the life of your equipment does require some investment but that’s a better option than replacing an HVAC system sooner than necessary.
Replace Your Air Filter
Although it is one of the easiest maintenance tasks a homeowner can do it is also one of the more common oversights we see in regards to system neglect.
The HVAC filter reduces dirt and dust that is otherwise introduced to the motor and other vital parts of the furnace not to mention increasing the dust in your home through the vents and registers. A dirty filter reduces the efficiency of your furnace and increases the need for repairs.
We recommend that you inspect your HVAC filter once a month and change when it becomes dirty. The frequency of which you should change the filter can vary depending on your HVAC system.
The best way to ensure your HVAC system is operating efficiently is to schedule annual maintenance. The best time to schedule a maintenance visit is in the autumn before the cold winter season arrives. Trained HVAC technicians can identify and correct any issues that may lead to breakdown or system failure potentially saving you a lot of money in repairs as well as giving you peace-of-mind that your heating is less likely to fail when it’s needed most.
Inspect for Air Leaks
A efficient heating system is air tight whereby the ducts and pipes are sealed not allowing warm air to escape and leak out. Leaky ductwork prevents the warm air from reaching the areas it’s needed in your home while increasing the workload on the furnace as it has to work harder and longer.
We recommend inspecting all ducts that are visible and check for any leaks within the system. You can use an incense stick round the HVAC pipes and joints to see if the rising smoke from the stick is affected by escaping air pressure. The repair can easily be made with duct tape or caulking.
Clear All Registers and Vents
Your heating system is designed by calculating how much heating and cooling is required for each room in your home. The number of vents and ductwork is also determined by a heating and cooling load calculation formula and is designed with the consideration that all vents and registers are free and clear to move the air within your home.
Closing off registers or covering up vents will increase the air pressure within the system leaving the ducts and the system itself susceptible to damage. The heat will regulate as designed when vents are unrestricted and your furnace won’t have to work as hard providing better comfort.
HVAC Vent Pipe
Today’s HVAC systems are very energy efficient, capable of using as much as 98% efficiency, meaning a mere 2% of the fuel is unused. This also means that very little heat is vented outside compared to older outdated furnaces which required chimneys or metal vent pipes. It’s common to find 2” – 3” PVC plastic pipe venting gasses directly from the furnace to the outside of the building.
Inspect the HVAC vent pipe to ensure there isn’t any obstruction, which could include a buildup of snow or ice. A blocked vent pipe could lead to system failure or cause the system to work harder and inefficiently.
Professional HVAC Installation
An HVAC system that is not installed correctly, such as; incorrect heating and cooling load calculation, properly sized furnace, sufficient ductwork, etc. can severely impact the comfort level in your home. Poorly installed systems will increase heating breakdowns and reduce the lifespan of the furnace.
Although there aren’t many options available for homes with existing heating systems it is an important factor if you have an older, unreliable system needing frequent repairs and you’re considering replacement.
One final thought on extending the life of your HVAC system is to try and reduce the frequency in which your heating and cooling system is needed. Seal all leaks from the system. Insure the insulation in your home, especially the basement, is sufficient. Make sure windows and openings into your home are tight and efficient at keeping cold / hot air from entering the building.
You may also consider adding a smart thermostat which can control when your system is on or off, especially important when you’re at work or outside the home and heating or cooling isn’t required.
With a little knowledge and some perceptive prevention you can extend the life of your HVAC system and provide better overall comfort in your home.
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